– Alessandro Nottegar
My father was called Alessandro (Sandro for his close friends) and was born in Verona on 30 October 1943 to an agricultural family: he was the ninth of ten siblings. Seeing that he was good at school, his father sent him to study in a friar-run boarding school with the hope of his becoming a priest.
Growing up, however, my father understood that he desired to create a family, a true Christian family.
One day he met Luisa, a beautiful girl, with big brown eyes and long hair, and he fell hopelessly in love. Mum and Dad got married on 27 February 1971.
When my father became a doctor, my parents were at long last able to achieve their great dream: to go on a mission and share, with the poor, the gifts that they had received from the Lord.
In 1978 they left with my two sisters Chiara and Francesca (then 6 and 3 years of age respectively) for distant Brazil where my father worked for free as a doctor amongst the poor and the lepers. And there, on Brazilian soil, I was born: “the most wonderful fruit of the mission”, as my mother always says.
Unfortunately, after 4 years in Brazil, my sister Chiara fell seriously ill with malaria and we were forced to return to Italy.
My father found hospital work in Verona, but was not able to forget the poor in Brazil. Together with my mother, he often prayed saying: “Lord, if it is your will, make use of us in your Church”. They felt called to begin a new community of life, founded on prayer and on serving the poor.
And so we left our small apartment in the suburbs to go and live with other people in a house in the hills. A large house, and a little bit run-down, surrounded by thick and mysterious woods...
Then a sad day arrived, 19 September 1986: having just returned from work, my father fell to the ground and was rushed to hospital. I did not understand anything. Only an enormous confusion. His bicycle was left on the ground... And he never returned again.
“I am Sandro’s sister. I remember that, as a boy, Sandro helped out at home. It was almost scandalous because he would wash the floors and say to my mother: “This is not work for a woman!”. Even when he got married, I saw that he would help his wife in the household chores”.
– Teresa Nottegar
“I studied with Sandro at the Servants of Maria boarding school. Sandro was an appreciated boy and was loved by all. I remember him as a football player; he was a relentless midfielder. This role of midfielder was also part of his role in life. I don’t ever remember seeing him angry or in a bad mood. Sandro was always smiling... Except when he was playing football!”.
– father Lino Pacchin
“I met Alessandro during his mission period in Brazil. He had a special love for his young daughters. When he was free from his work in the hospital, he used to take care of his daughters. He was an affectionate father. I remember even to this day that sometimes, when he returned home dead tired from work, he would pick up the little Miriam and take her outside for a stroll among the coffee plantations behind the house to give his wife a bit of peace”.
– Arlindo Stieven